Alpha (Work in Progress)

May 25th, 2018

was once a girl on top.  I had attitude and a knowledge that I was powerful and could change things. It was built into me as if it was an application the software came with.   When I saw mean or unfair behaviorfrom anyone, I would fearlessly expose it.     I became confused when the behavior that I had modeled when presented with the same unfairness wasn’t practiced.   I was mortified Why weren’t my values being reflected back to me in the behavior of the people I respected

It was a profound feeling of worthlessness.  I didn’t understand that others were fearful because I didn’t know what that fear felt like.  

So I forged ahead with my fearless. 

 

Until one day a boy told me I was not pretty.   

It was a statement of fact that I was not being invited to reason againstso I didn’t.   I reflected on all the times I was left suspended after a personal affront.  I was left waiting for another human to expose it.  I thought “Maybe this is why?” Now I was afraid 

was not being invited to reason againstso I didn’t.  Over time his statement became a part of me. A new organ that materialized between my senses and my understanding of myself.  

This new organ metabolized everything I heardsawatesmelledlovedand distilled it down to 

“I didn’t get this test right because I am not pretty.”  “I didn’t get invited to this party because I am not pretty.”  “I didn’t get into this college because I am not pretty.”  “I didn’t get this job because..” “This response because….” “This love because….” I was not being invited to reason againstso I didn’t.   

We are  all alphas, in the beginning.  This is how they tame us.   They lump our worth into a quality.  A grace, a charm, a sin.  We are not warned when this will come and we aren’t prepared to wage against it.  The real danger is not that they do it.  It’s that we believe them.

That we are not invited to reason againstso we don’t.  We are not taught that this is an option. 

That the very statements they make about us are based on assumption.  That we are put on this Earth to enlighten, to educate each other, to enrich beyond the senses.  To invite each other to reason beyond our individual experiences.

That what we observe of each other isn’t fact, it’s an invitation.

THANK YOU!

May 3rd, 2018

THANKS to everyone who came out to the Back Room in Berekely!  We had a hootenanny and a half and hope you did too.  

 

Image Credit @santossocialclub

Next EZ and the Mightiest Machine show will be at 8pm on Wednesday, June 13th at the Milk Bar!  Hope to see you cityfolk out there!

 

EZ and the Mightiest Machine at the Backroom!

February 26th, 2018

Poster Designed by AJ Leighton

 

On Saturday, April 28th, I’m stoked to be playing with my band, The Mightiest Machine at the cozy Backroom in Berkeley.     This venue is perfect for our songs and you will get a rare opportunity to experience our show the way it is intended: Up Close and In Your Lap.

It’s ALL AGES and BYOB, so bring everyone and whatever is in your minibar!

We are pleased to be joined by the fabulous Eileen Torrez

Eileen Torrez!

Please tell your friends and mark your calendars as space is limited!  This is going to be a delightfully fun hang.

 

I’m at The Poster Room This Sunday!

November 7th, 2017

Marty Atkinson and I will be back at the Poster Room at the Fillmore this Sunday night before Ani DiFranco hits the main stage.   She’s one of my favorites and I have been making this pilgrimage to the Poster Room for the past 4 years.

If you’ve got a ticket or were planning on being there, swing by the Poster Room upstairs to grab a bite, beverage, and we will serenade you before the main show!

TICKETS

Writing Songs For Others

November 1st, 2017

Once upon a winters day in 2016, I was tagged in a Facebook post.

Someone was looking for a female musician to share an “empowering anthemic song” for consideration for…..something, and a friend had typed my name into the comments.

It so happened that I had just finished polishing off a feminist, punk rock version of a 1970s Paul Simon tune, so I sent it off in hopes that it might spark some interest.  Then I forgot about it.

While it wasn’t what they were ultimately looking for, it must have sparked some interest because I received an email asking what else I had, which was encouraging!  I scoured my repertoire for my most anthemic-sounding tunes and sent what I thought was most appropriate.

Fast forward a bit through a few emails and conversations and I end up with a formal request for a commissioned song.  My first ever!

My brain did two things: “Whoa,  write a song that isn’t about me or my direct experiences?  But HOW?  Will it be authentic?  Will it be cheesy as fuck?  Does this make me a sellout? Most of all, will they LIKE it?!? This is terrifying.”

Also my brain: “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Turns out this was one of the most gratifying songwriting exercises I’ve ever done.  Don’t get me wrong, when I write a song that ends up being the one in 1000 that actually turns out as intended, it has a particular amplitude of electricity.  However, this was a different kind of gratifying.

I’ve unpacked and re-packed this feeling in order to determine the why and how and have boiled it down to what it means (to me) to choose to write a song for others:

In choosing to write a commissioned piece, one is choosing:

  • To be in service to others (provided the service is in line with your values)
  • To practice deep listening (paying attention)
  • To send the ego on Vacation (Thank GOD)

Choosing to be in service to others – You cannot possibly sell out if your values are in alignment with the work you are being called upon to do.  This is always within your control.  How does your body feel when an opportunity comes your way?  Does your brain buzz with ideas immediately?  Does your chest hum with anticipation?  Would you do the work anyway even if you didn’t get the job, just to see if you could and just because you LOVE the idea of it?

These are all indicators that your values are in alignment with the the work.  Once that is settled, take a deep breath and trust the process.  For me, the hardest part of owning the work is to just knowing that I have already done the tough stuff.  Now all I have to do is trust and apply.

Just put the tools on the table and await instruction.

Practice deep listening – Ask ask ask ask ask alllllllll of the questions.    Ask within, ask without, ask everything you think you need to know and all of the things you also think might be obvious (hint: they aren’t).  Ask yourself what information you need to provide the product they are looking for and then ask THEM for the answers to those questions.  For instance, I assumed the folks I was writing for wanted a different kind of voice, a voice that I perceived as more powerful than my own.  When I told them I planned to hire a friend to do the vocals, they almost panicked,”What do you mean?  We want YOUR voice.  We fell in love with YOUR sound.”

OK!  This is also REALLY GOOD information.

Send the Ego on Vacation – It was at this point I had to consciously advise my ego to take a much needed vacation. “Girl, you’ve been racking up the hours!  Go have a day at the hot springs, on me.  Treat yo-self!”

In order to more deeply understand what kinds of feelings they were seeking to inspire with this song, I had to ask what could have been perceived as a question that was fishing for compliments.  I had to force myself to ask “Ok then! What is it about my voice in particular that caught your imagination?” It was deeper than just “what did you like about my voice?” (Oh, DO go on….)  It was a question designed to unearth more clues (Cool! How? Why?). If you invite the clients’ imagination into the process, you will always get more than you bargained for, which is a VERY good thing.  My ego (had she stuck around) would have covered my mouth and whispered, “Just take the damn compliment.”  Gracious, yes. But it would ultimately undermine the purpose of the work by eschewing an opportunity to know more.

The theme song was written for Story.co and follows two intrepid women on their quests to build their ideal lives.  It’s been fun to listen to them and I highly recommend subscribing to the podcast to join in on their adventures:  You can scroll to the bottom of this page to have a listen to the full song.   Hope you enjoy!

We Have a Theme Song!

New Music Video from Chance’s End!

July 24th, 2017

I’ve been nibbling, nay CHOMPING at my nails to finally share this with you all.

My genius partner in musical crime, Chance’s End birthed this beauty from his brains.    I am thrilled to have been a part of it and to be able to witness the stunning imagery take shape.

So many amazing people played a part in this project and I can’t wait to see what comes next out of the mind of Chance’s End. 

Enjoy!!

Cresta’s Gigs on Hiatus

July 17th, 2017

Hey folks!

Just a note to say that our monthly residency at Cresta’s is on hiatus until further notice.

While we are super fans of the cozy, local spot, unfortunately the timing has gotten a bit crunchy for us.

Marty and I hope to re-establish a regular haunt again sometime, and maybe at Cresta’s again in the future.

 

Until then, if you’re looking for a sweet spot for a nightcap in SF, go to Cresta’s on Sunday night.  Casson is a fabulous hostess and the locals are charming AF.

In the meantime, check the shows tab to see where to find us next!

Love.

EZ

The Boxer: Revisited

November 17th, 2016

I’ve always loved The Boxer by Paul Simon.

One day I promised myself I would cover it, but It’s a hero’s journey of masculine origin and, as much as I related to the darkness and the solitude of the piece, I could never get so close as to feel ownership enough to sing it.  One day I decided to experiment with switching the gender of the protagonist from male to female and the lyrics….sort of reworked themselves into a bit of a feminist anthem.   I took it to my band and suggested a hard driving, punk rock backdrop and….well here you have it.  Thanks to Paul Simon for writing such an amazing tune.  I hope you all enjoy our version as much as we enjoyed recording it!

Big In Japan

June 23rd, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, there was an article posted in the in-flight magazine of the Japanese airline, All Nippon Airlines.  The Americano Social Club is in there and they even gave a slight nod to our tribute to David Bowie, Let’s Dance.

Please take a moment to read about our lively and supportive music scene as it exists today.  Then come out to a show!

 

Americano Social Club Appears in All Nippon Airlines in-flight magazine article about San Francisco Music Scene (CLICK ME TO READ!)

 

Americano Social Club: The Grand Ruckus

June 2nd, 2016

I’ve written about the gypsy jazz collective, The Americano Social Club in posts past, but I felt that the band’s upcoming Monthly Ruckus in the heart of the Haight/Ashbury district of San Francisco heralded a literary revisiting.

Reno Cools Her Heels

Reno Cools Her Heels

My participation in the Americano Social Club was and continues to be a transformative process.  I first joined the group as a sit-in at the Revolution Café, only lending my voice when invited to do so.  I generally sang in a sweatshirt and jeans as I didn’t want to show up looking like I was expecting any special treatment.  You see, at that particular time in my career, I had no expectations for myself.  I was green and insecure and my potential hadn’t yet been sustainably tapped.  They were doing me a favor as far as I was concerned and no number of “Wow, you killed its” or “that voice came out of YOUs?”  would get any other ideas across to me.  Adding to the grey was my relatively recent re-entry to the Bay Area after giving it a go on Broadway (no joke).   The competition out east was fierce and I ultimately decided it wasn’t a lifestyle for which I was willing to sacrifice….anything.  I came back to San Francisco telling myself that I wasn’t cut out for it, that I was weak, only marginally talented and doomed for a life of perpetual type-casting.   But every time Michael invited me to sing a number or two I would gleam and, for the rest of the night, considered myself the luckiest girl in the city.    I still do.

Blissed The Fuck Out

Blissed The Fuck Out

The invitations to sing kept coming and eventually the idea for the Americano Social Club Family Ruckus afforded me a standing invitation to be an active member of a real-life variety show.  The authentic performing experience I was seeking in New York was being offered to me right in my own home town.  So, I began to show up.  I mean REALLY show up.  I bought sassy dresses, teetered around in heels, and put makeup on my face.  This group of extraordinarily talented musicians and dancers were including me in their act.   So. I. Brought. It.  Every night, my goal was to supersede my previous performance.  I would go deeper, get darker, listen harder, be MORE present.  My questions were never, “How can I get this band to better support me?”  They were always, and continue to be “How much more can I bring to this group of people?” “What more can I do?” “Where can I add more support?”  Granted, I’m not perfect and have definitely taken a few wrong turns, forgotten a few lyrics, and dropped a few entrances, but that’s part of the human growth process.   If there is anything more the band has given me, it’s providing real time, tangible examples of what it looks like to have compassion for oneself.   I’ve seen and been that member of the group that shows up stressed from a long day at work, upset about a personal grievance, sickly or just in a really foul mood.  But I’ve watched each of them roll with it with grace and deliver because that’s what you do.  There are no complaints, just matters of fact.  So, I would follow suit.  I would show up my full and honest self, AND I would bring it.

I was a fully functioning adult when I came back from New York.  But I was still craving mentorship, guidance and a good example of what it means to be a performance professional with community as a core value.The Americanos truly are part of my family and I look forward to many more Ruckuses and opportunities to surpass myself.

one night in Haight Ashbury

One Night in Haight Ashbury

Speaking of which, there’s one this weekend!  Won’t you please come witness our passion at play? I promise this will be a night like no other before it.  At least I know I will be planning on it.

Won’t you join us?